There is a Kenny Chesney song playing somewhere up in the heavens. Erica is in the kitchen, in her red U of U t-shirt, cooking up something delicious, and this incredible smile is beaming down on all of us today.
Our beloved Ericalee Crosland, 48, died at her Millcreek home June 15, after a 9-month dogfight with pancreatic cancer. Her family and closest girlfriends were by her side.
She is remembered by her husband, Michael Mont Crosland, who she identified as the love of her life at first sight, and her cherished daughter Isabell (Izzy) Grey Crosland, 17, the unquestionable center of her world.
She also leaves behind her mother, Anita Jean Packer of Perry, Utah, and four siblings: Curtislee Packer (Rachel), Brigham City; Kimberlee Cobia (Wayne), Syracuse, Utah; Shirlee Whipple (Bear), Brigham City; Cameronlee Packer, Brigham City, several nieces and nephews, and hundreds of friends who adored her.
This remarkable woman - a loving wife, mom, friend, sister and daughter, but also an unparalleled hostess and party planner -- was born January 11, 1972, the eldest child of Anita and Lee Doyle Packer (deceased). She grew up in Brigham City, where as a young teenager she first honed her lifelong gift as a event organizer, encouraging her younger siblings to clean the house, make a treat, and decorate the family home into what she called “Packer Palace” as a surprise for her parents when they returned home from an evening out. This love for gathering people became a trademark of Erica‘s life, and everyone lucky enough to know her has been treated to a party for a birthday, special event, soccer tournament, football game, or one of a million other occasions, where Erica spared no expense and left no detail untended. She was the glue that kept her friends in touch and all occasions celebrated.
Erica attended Box Elder High School, and pages of memories from her high school yearbooks are dedicated to friends’ acknowledgements of her friendship, accomplishments and super watt smile. She was an important part of the Bee’s Rockettes drill team for two years.
Beginning with the study of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Ricks College and then the University of Utah, Erica began a lifelong career in the restaurant industry, first at Utah’s Gastronomy restaurants The Broiler, Baci and Pierpont.
She married Mike Crosland Sept. 9, 2001, and after a short, successful turn at real estate in the Salt Lake Valley, daughter Isabell was born Sept. 4, 2002. Erica called her daughter the most important offering of her lifetime, and she was ferociously devoted to Izzy and open and generous with all of Izzy’s friends and their families.
Erica’s life became synonymous with a handful of simple, miraculous elements: her family, travel, serving food, taking photographs, and being in service to others.
On Leap Day, February 29, 2004, she brought all of her greatest skills together and opened Citris Grill, which has been a trusted family gathering place and staple of the Millcreek community since. She dreamed up all of the decor, artwork, food ideas - every detail of the restaurant with husband Mike, and even hand built the stone pizza oven at the center of the eatery. She maintained her seat as Mama Bear to the loyal team of longtime Citris employees up until she died.
While running a business, her life also revolved around creating special events for her friends and family and traveling with Mike and Izzy to experience food and culture of everywhere within reach. Costa Rica, Rome, Belize, Maine, Oregon, New York, Northern Italy, Cabo San Lucas, the Dominican Republic…. Erica had every detail planned, hard copies of reservations tucked into an organized folder, the accompanying travel book for the location, and a printed itinerary of their journey. She loved sampling a bit of everything as she travelled, sometimes ordering “the whole left side of the menu,“ says Mike and sampling some bites of each before taking leftovers home. She loved being on the beach, being in the water, fishing, and boating at the family’s cabin in Bear Lake. Her generousity was reknowned too, and nearly everyone has a special personal photograph of an image she captured at a game, a party, a wedding, or a special event.
She would literally do anything for anyone -- the woman’s primary love language was showing up and giving, always with the perfect gift, a bottle of wine, or a friend’s favorite food. Even the last holiday season, when she felt quite ill and was in the midst of her battle with cancer, Erica bundled up on Christmas Eve and rode around with Mike and Izzy delivering their annual smoked trout plates to friends and neighbors. “No way would I miss this,” she said, tucked under a blanket and stocking cap in the passenger seat.
Mike and Izzy request your presence at the graveside service:
Saturday, June 27, at 11 a.m. at Memorial Mountain View Cemetery, 3115 East 7800 South in Cottonwood Heights. Services will also be Live-Streamed via Zoom:
1. Joining by computer
a. Go to zoom.us in any internet browser
b. Click “join meeting”
c. Enter the meeting id - 8012981564
d. A box will open saying “https://zoom.us wants to open this application”. Click “open
e. Click “Join with Computer Audio”
f. Click “Mute” in the bottom left hand corner so that your audio does not interrupt
the funeral services
2. Joining by phone or iPad
a. Download the Zoom app
b. Open the app and select “join a meeting”
c. Enter the meeting id - 8012981564
d. Select “join without video”
e. Select “Call using internet audio”
f. Select “mute” in the bottom left hand corner so that your audio does not interrupt
the funeral services.
Celebration of Life
Life Story Info
Mike and Izzy,
No words comfort in times like these, and some reflections of sorrow in others are rough to manage. As you move forward in this time of great loss, please know willing loving hearts surround you to help walk you through.
I invite you to notice the smiles that are available to you as encouragement, hugs as ways to hold on and laughter as an echo of the joy in your heart.
And when you can, soak in the knowing that you have been and will always be, showered in and surrounded by love.
You are an extension of Erica’s heart. I can see her love in every person you surround yourselves with. And in the quiet times to come, may you feel her heart close to you.
Sending love always
Chris and Tracie Bentley.